Psalm 119:153-154 Look on my affliction and deliver me, for I do not forget Your Law. Plead my cause and redeem me; give me life according to Your promise!
"Look on my afflictions," we pray with the psalmist, and most of us could easily come up with a lengthy list, including illness, grief, financial concerns, loss of employment, and problems with relationships. It is, unfortunately, an ever-changing list. We are left struggling and searching for answers. We plead with God in prayer, begging for His deliverance. And all of us are burdened, as the psalmist was, with the greatest and most terrible afflictions of sin and death. Against those deadly afflictions, we are helpless to save ourselves.
So in prayer we beg, "Deliver me ... Plead my cause and redeem me!" And God our Savior, who hears and responds before we even call on Him, has already answered our prayer. He has delivered and redeemed us and He ceaselessly pleads our cause. Christ Jesus our Lord took on our human flesh, becoming one of us to deliver us from sin and death: "Since therefore the children share in flesh and blood, He Himself likewise partook of the same things, that through death He might destroy the one who has the power of death, that is, the devil, and deliver all those who through fear of death were subject to lifelong slavery" (Hebrews 2:14-15).
Jesus was unjustly condemned to die on the cross; there was no one to protest that He was innocent. No one stepped forward to plead His cause. No one delivered Him. Abandoned to the agony of the cross, Jesus bore our sin and guilt, our afflictions, in His own body, and suffered the penalty of death to save us. "With His wounds we are healed" (Isaiah 53:5b). Our prayer was answered before we spoke it. God, in Christ, looked on our afflictions and delivered us from sin, death, and the devil. Jesus, crucified and risen from the dead, now ceaselessly, eternally, pleads our cause as our Advocate before the Father (1 John 2:1).
We pray, "Give me life according to Your promise," and that, too, has been accomplished. Jesus made that promise—and kept it: "Because I live, you also will live" (John 14:19b). Joined to Christ in Baptism, we have been buried with Him and raised to new life. Finally, on the Last Day, we will be raised from death, our bodies transformed and glorified. We will be given eternal life, all according to the promise of our God and Savior. We will live in His presence for all eternity, forever delivered from every affliction. God will wipe away every tear from our eyes and "death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away" (Revelation 21:4b).
Until that great day, we will still suffer through earthly troubles, and we will plead with God to deliver us from our afflictions. He will hear and answer our prayers, for beside us stands our Advocate, who said, "Behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age" (Matthew 28:20b). That is His promise to us.
THE PRAYER: God and Savior, hear and answer our prayers and deliver us from every evil of body and soul. Amen.
This Daily Devotion was written by Dr. Carol Geisler.
1. Do you spend much time thinking about God's Law? Why or why not?
2. Our prayers are often hoping that God will do something to improve our situation. Do you offer Him prayers of thanks, even when things aren't quite what you'd like?
3. Do you think about matters beyond the grave much? Why or why not?
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